FBI Agent in Charge of Largest Congressional Sting Endorses Senator Pressler: The One Man Who Couldn't be Bought
Sioux Falls, SD, October 15 2014 – The retired FBI agent who led the largest “sting” operation of politicians from 1978 to 1980 today endorsed Senator Larry Pressler for the South Dakota Senate seat. “When the hidden cameras were running, and $50,000 in cash was ready for a bribe, at a moment when Senator Pressler thought no one on the outside was looking, we saw his true character,” said retired FBI agent John Good. “At a time when attack ads from extremists on both sides of the aisle are attacking Senator Pressler’s integrity, I had to do what I could to tell anyone who will listen that Senator Pressler is an honest politician, and there aren’t many of them around.”
Agent John Good, who led the well-known Abscam investigation and noted that Pressler was the only member of Congress to turn down a bribe. Since the scandal, he says, political corruption is worse than ever and lobbyists are corrupting both political parties. “Lobbyists like gridlock, and that is why they are attacking Senator Pressler.”
“The only way this country is ever going to recover from the disastrous gridlock taking place now is to get people like Pressler in there,” Good says. “I am 100% behind Pressler. I would do anything for him.”
Good’s and Pressler’s paths crossed when the three-term South Dakota senator was invited to a room and offered a bribe by undercover agents posing as Arab sheiks in 1978. Pressler flatly turned it down, but six congressmen and one senator who accepted them went to prison for bribery and conspiracy, along with more than a dozen other people.
“We were running low on cash from politicians taking the money, but Larry Pressler took a stand and said no. In the meeting room, we got rid of him as quickly as we could because it was obvious he was doing nothing wrong,” Good says. The “sting” operation was recounted in the 2013 movie American Hustle, which received several Academy Award nominations. Pressler has run campaign commercials that include the FBI surveillance footage showing him turning down the payoff attempt. Agent Good and his team had wired a home in Washington DC with hidden video and audio equipment as part of the investigation.
While the film was being shot in Washington, Pressler and Good met again, “and we immediately hit it off. I knew he was a good man right from the beginning,” said Good, 78, who now runs a security consulting firm in New York State.
“We talked about both of our philosophies and we were on the same page on practically everything. We are both veterans. He didn’t even mention until much later that he had done two tours of duty in Vietnam. If anything sold me on him that was it.”
He adds, “Senator Pressler is not looking for anything for himself but what is good for the country. He recognizes the problem regarding lobbyists. They are nothing but bagmen for the politicians. If you don’t pay, you don’t play.” Running as an independent frees him from this dependency, though he will be handicapped in raising money, Good says.
Agent Good will be campaigning with Senator Pressler in South Dakota during the last week of the campaign, with stops planned around the state.